Spiritual Guidance: finding the best Priest gear and talents for Battle of Dazar’alor
Despite getting nerfed to heck in patch 8.1 — which sounded more dire than it actually was — Priests are still in a good spot this tier. Battle of Dazar’alor offers us plenty of new healing opportunities and interesting mechanics. While I’ve never really put much stock into basing viability off what the “top guilds do” — it’s futile to extrapolate situations that feature the extremest of min/maxxing — we can see a healthy representation of both Discipline and Holy present in the world first race.
A far as healing on Priests go, it’s not that different from before. Talents and stat priorities are going to be roughly the same as they have been so far this expansion, which are still pretty similar to last expansion. While stat priorities exist, healers don’t really rely on stat allocations like DPS specs do. Rings are where you’ll find the bulk of your stat preferences. As for everything else, you’ll benefit far more from an ilevel and Intellect upgrade than you will sticking with certain stats on lower gear.
The same talents you have been using throughout Uldir will work well in Battle of Dazar’alor. At the first tier, Schism is of course your go-to talent in raids. Even with the nerf, it’s still quite powerful. While Twist of Fate can have its uses, that particular talent is much better suited for Mythic+ dungeons where you’re spending more time casting Shadow Mend. As for Castigation, it still doesn’t compare. In the next tier, we have some utility, but Angelic Feather is generally the most useful. Likewise, Power Word: Solace still wins out amongst the level 45 talents for mana return, above Mindbender. It’s also powerful combined with Schism, as it benefits from Schism’s damage increase. At the level 60 row, Shining Force tends to have the most use in group situations, especially since you can target it on others.
The next three tiers find the same steady talents as basics, and niche uses for others. Sins of the Many is still the default for raid content. Shadow Covenant can have some uses, but mainly it just pads numbers in raids and can cause more harm than good in steady damage situations. It’s still better suited for Mythic+. Halo is another default raiding talent in the level 90 tier due to the spread of raid members, but Divine Star can have situational use if your group is stacked up a lot. In Battle of Dazar’alor, we actually see some stacking situations where Divine Star could do well. Finally, at level 100, Evangelism is still the best trait of the row. Luminous Barrier can be fun to cheese healing if you can’t stack up for Power Word: Barrier, but Evangelism outshines it in progression.
With patch 8.1, Holy received several nerfs that seemed like they were intended to push the spec away from the “Binding Heal over everything else” play style. As a result, with this tier Holy will find a little more focus on a Circle of Healing playstyle, but overall the premise is the same.
The first four tiers of Holy talents remain unchanged. Enlightenment is the default talent in the first tier, though Trail of Light can find some usage if you’re relegated to a lot of single target healing. Likewise, Angelic Feather still maintains its place in the following tier for utility. In the third tier at level 45, Cosmic Ripple also remains the default trait for its AOE effect. And the crowd control row at level 60 is up to personal choice.
Like Discipline, the level 75 row is where it gets interesting. Binding Heal was the main talent choice in the last tier of Legion and the first tier of Battle for Azeroth. However, with the nerfs and increased mana cost that went in with patch 8.1, Binding Heal fell out of favor for Circle of Healing. With an instant cast and the ability to hit your target and four people around them, it can be quite mana efficient. At the next row, the level 90 talents have some leeway, the same situation as Discipline. Halo is a safe choice for general raiding, but Divine Star can find use for the increasing stacking situations. Benediction, however, likely won’t see as much use as it did previously, especially after the recent nerfs. And if it does, it requires heavy Prayer of Mending usage to be effective. Finally, at the last row for level 100, Holy Word: Salvation is still your best bet. It’s still a powerful cooldown, despite the spellpower nerf. And, even then, the Renew buff somewhat makes up for that.
Priest Azerite Traits
As with any new raid comes new gear. And every time we get new gear, we naturally want to know what’s best. One of the changes that this new tier brought us is the addition of a fifth ring on Azerite gear. Instead of a single choice for our spec in those outer rings, we now have two options to choose from on current Azerite gear.
For most people, Azerite gear is hard to quantify. This is mostly because the majority of the player base won’t be farming out specific pieces of gear. Getting multiple pieces of the same ilvl for the same slot is up to RNG, and the Titan Residuum pieces are far more expensive to specifically buy outright than relying on the random one. However, with the addition of a new ring, and more options per ring, we have more of a choice than last tier. One thing to note is that you should view Azerite Traits as a bonus to your healing. Rarely will these traits induce playstyle changes or become necessary to healing. There are some you can take that may be more useful in some situations than others, but they won’t make or break the game.
If you want to pore over all your choices and analyze the exact effect on your gear, there are two fantastic spreadsheet resources — the 8.1 Discipline Priest sheet by Hellpriesto and the 8.1 Holy Priest sheet by Niphyr. These resources offer a breakdown of stats, playstyle, Azerite rankings, trinket rankings, and even comparison tools to evaluate your exact choices.
For anyone looking for a quick overview, here are some of the top choices to take for Azerite Traits.
- Outer Ring
- Second Ring
- Third Ring
- Outer Ring
- Second Ring
- Third Ring
Trinkets have been such a toss-up this expansion. Raid trinkets were generally mediocre in Uldir and acted more like stat sticks than any game-changing choice. There’s not necessarily a best in slot list, but rather a list of trinkets that have varying strengths depending on your item level. Because of the scaling ilvl increase, World Quest trinkets now have a lot more value. However, some of them may only be good or better than what you have if they hit the right ilvl threshold. To see the entire ranking of trinkets at every level, check out the list of Holy trinket and Discipline trinket rankings. The linked screenshots of the rankings will give you a good overview of how trinkets are faring, but both spreadsheet resources have a trinket comparison tab to compare your exact trinkets to see their value. Here are some of the better ones to focus on.
- Best World Quest trinkets: Incessantly Ticking Clock, Fangs of Intertwined Essence, Gilded Loa Figurine
- Best raid trinkets: Ward of Envelopment, Crest of Pa’ku
- Best World Quest trinkets: Dinobone Charm, Galewind Chimes, Conch of Dark Whispers
- Best raid trinkets: Ward of Envelopment, Incandescent Sliver
While gear and traits affect your game play, don’t sweat it too much. It can be overwhelming to be presented with lists of Azerite traits, leading to a fear of picking the wrong one. And a lot of the gear is simply dependent on RNG. What you can control is how you play. This guide is mostly intended to act as a starting point to get the confusion out of the way. What really matters is knowing your class and knowing the fights you go into. Once you have that down, everything else just augments it.
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